Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When Outlook files get out of control


By Joe Dolittle

OutlookPower reader Julie has a number of questions. We'll take one at a time and see if we can get her going again.

I am a vineyard owner and work alone most of the time. I've gotten myself into a fix with Outlook because I've saved my emails with attachments in email files in Outlook. I constantly reach the limit of storage and have to go in and delete files. Now I'm learning to save the attachments in another folder on my hard drive but that makes it hard because I don't have the trail back to the sender and the email.
I would like direction on how to save emails with attachments so it doesn't blow my storage capacity. Do you have any ideas?

This one's an easy answer. There are a number of vendors who make affordable attachment management add-ons. One of our favorites is by Mike Sperry at Sperry Software. Mike has a great program called Attachment Save that should do what you need.

My second question concerns a second shadow set of my Outlook folders. When I look at the icons, I have Outlook with a house/clock symbol and then Archive Folders with a set of folders and then Outlook again with a set of folders and this contains a replica of all of my Outlook files.

Woah, okay, this multiplying files and folder thing is something I've seen with computer users not sure what they're doing. The house/clock symbol is the icon for the Outlook application, but it could either be the application or a shortcut to the application.

These are difficult problems to solve, because each newbie computer user tends to randomly copy and move a different set of random files, holding down an ever-changing set of random mouse and keyboard buttons.

The result is unpredictable.

The first think you need to do is stop making folders. Next, take a tutorial (like those at, for example) on the basics of using your Windows desktop. Learn about files and folders and how they're structured.

Only then can you figure out what thou hast wrought.

Here's a hint though: don't throw away big files. They could be your entire email history. Also dig through the various OutlookPower troubleshooting resources. We've written a bunch of articles on how Outlook organizes its files.

Good luck!